The System and Rules for A Quiet Place Explained

The System and Rules for A Quiet Place Explained - because the movie A Quiet Place was so fantastic, we really need to understand how this movie works and the details of every possible millisecond. IMDB
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Let’s get this out right at the top. A Quiet Place blew my mind. Every single detail, and every single choice was well played out and brilliant. This is going to make huge waves at the box office. I mean, it has already dethroned Ready Player One. Let that sink in a moment. I haven’t even seen Player One yet. I’m going Wednesday dang it. (Sure, I’m doubtful that Spielberg will even come close to comparing with the book. But that is another topic for another day.) So yeah, I guess it already is making ripples and waves across Hollywood. Which, is fantastic! We need more independent, interesting, think outside the box, films out there.

For those of you that haven’t seen it, and don’t know what it’s about… you’ve literally been living under a rock. Dislodge said rock. Come out into the sunlight. It really is safe out this way. I promise. Anyway, the movie is about some sort of crazy monster type threat out there that keys off of sound. Which, makes this movie INCREDIBLY quiet. I mean, half of Twitter this weekend has been talking solely about how hard it is to eat their snacks while watching A Quiet Place! But I can confirm, it was the quietest, most uncomfortably quiet movie, I have ever been to. And it just lent to the entire freakiness of the whole affair. I think there were literally 2 short audible conversations in the entire movie? (The first screenplay draft that Scott Beck and Bryan Woods wrote actually only had a single line of dialogue in it.) Anyway, if you are unfamiliar, check out the trailer, and then we’ll dive into the brass tacks about the movie details:

This could possibly be the perfect movie for this blog/discussion forum. Literally perfect. Why? Well, apparently Beck and Woods, when they crafted the idea they were hoping to create a movie for $50k in the back woods of Iowa. Something they could just throw together between movies. But their agent? They wanted to give it a shot in Hollywood. Pass it around, see if anything happened. But per this interview, when Michael Bay bit on it, and told Paramount to create it, and… here, I’ll let them tell you themselves:

“And just when we thought this journey couldn’t get crazier, we received another call from our agent, right before Election Day 2016: “Guys, John Krasinski read the script and loved it. He gave it to Emily Blunt and she flipped for it. They both want to star in it and John wants to direct. Cinematographer Charlotte Bruus Christensen wants to shoot it. Paramount is dating the film for April 2018. And the studio wants to give you a blind write-to-direct deal.” Our spinning heads had fallen off. We were so used to hearing “no, sorry, not for us” and now it was only “yes, yes, yes.””

So this script was destined for an independent film release, but then they were given a shot to help Hollywood create their movie for them. So it went from a backyard home mortgage loan movie… to a fullon A-list production. Which means, it has an independent sensibility, on a Hollywood budget, and not only that, but we will also get another film from them, with their new blind write-to-direct deal. The duo basically snapped this screenplay out of the park is what that means.

Alright, from here on out, this post is RIDDLED WITH SPOILERS. Literally, that is all this post is, is spoilers. 100% spoilage, from here to the end. Ok? So, do yourself a favor, go buy a ticket to this movie… PLEASE buy a ticket to this movie, and see it in the theaters. Let’s help this movie continue destroying Black Panther, Ready Player One… oh, and you can’t forget! Rampage! This movie HAS to beat Rampage! please make this happen. I would literally fall over dead from laughter if we could make this thing happen! So where was I? Oh, yes, spoilers – HERE BE DRAGONS!

Walkthrough of A Quiet Place

Why don’t we do a quick walk through of the events of A Quiet Place, and then we will dive into the rules, the monsters, the systems that make up A Quiet Place… ok?

The movie opens with “Day 89” – which, we can only surmise is the 89th day since the monsters appeared. We will delve into their monsterness/alien-ness in a bit. But for now, I’ll just refer to them as Monsters. And on this day, it is an important day in the life of Abbott family, because it is the day that Beau Abbott decides to put a couple of batteries into a blinky, noisy, space shuttle toy. And it’s also the day that Beau Abbott is killed by the monsters because of the enormous amount of noise he made, just before he died.

Jump forward a little over a year later (383 days to be exact – I LIKE MATHS!) to, “Day 472”, when Lee Abbott, is taking his son Marcus out fishing for the family. Marcus’ sister, who also happens to be deaf, and might be directly responsible for their survival as a result, is furious about being left out. Can you see how maybe this silent movie is actually a movie about interfamilial communication, or the lack there of? Maybe? Regardless, there is a rift in the heart of the family, and the tear leads all the way back to their younger sibling’s death back on day 89.

And while out at the waterfall, we get one of the key rules of the world our characters now inhabit. When there is a bigger noise nearby? Your smaller, softer noises are safe. And so, 44 minutes into this movie, we get our very first spoken conversation, first give and take. And after they are done fishing, and conversating to their heart’s content, they had back. Unfortunately, half way back they come upon an older man that is heart broken. His wife is lying there dead, with signs of trauma. She apparently made a noise. And this old man? He’s about to commit suicide via auralcide (yes, yes I am quite pleased with myself for that one. Admit it, you would be too if only you had thought of it.) And so he screams. And then he dies.

Pause this for a second. The lesson I am learning here is this, if your idea, the intrinsic simple kernel, is good, then out of that little idea will pour forth just one amazing logical conclusion after another. The chalk on the floor. A script without words. On and on it goes. Ok, un-pause. Just wanted to get how excited I am about this movie out of my system. Don’t worry, it’ll happen again before this write up is over. Guaranteed.

Then as Marcus and Lee round the bend to the house, they see that all the lights around the house are red. Which, is bad. Really bad. Because while they were gone, Evelyn, the matriarch of the family manages to go into labor. And, not only that? But steps on a nail heading to the basement. Now, I don’t know about you, but any one of these minor things would have sent me into a screaming fit of howling fantods (to steal a phrase from the late great David Foster Wallace). And while she is in the basement, a monster is furiously trying to find her. But our Evelyn? She is clever, and she knows the rule about the bigger/softer noises, so she sets an egg timer which flips the monster out when it finally goes off. So she hustles it off to the bathtub upstairs, and only when she is all but impaled by the monster, Marcus saves the day by making a “strong noise” with fireworks. Which in turn causes all the near by monsters to book it towards the noise.

And at this point Lee and Evelyn have a heart to heart. But remember, this is really only the second conversation to have happened since the start of the film. So it’s important. And they talk about how the baby is a boy, and Evelyn makes a convoluted reference to the fact that her hands had been free and so she should have carried Beau. That she felt guilty about Beau’s death. Which, I think, everyone feels guilty about his death in this family. And so she tells Lee that they are nothing if they can’t protect their kids… so get on it, go find their two other kids that are frantically trying to stay alive. So he does – but immediately the basement hide out starts flooding.

Now, honestly folks, I have a serious question here, because I was baffled. How the heck does all that water come flooding in so quickly? And where is it coming from? I missed the chaos that caused that to start. Did you pick it up? Anyway, there is their baby, floating in the water, amongst the reeds, with the powers of darkness ready to consume him and sacrifice him to obey Pharoah’s orders. Oh wait. Wrong story. But you all did catch the Moses reference there right? That this child would be the hope of a people. That he would lead them out of slavery. And that this people would rise up and overthrow their evil overlords? Yes? You caught all that. BECAUSE IT WAS THERE DANGIT. Trust me.

Cut to the two kids falling into the corn silo. Now. I’m calling a technical timeout on the field here. My extended family has piles of these really enormous corn silos. And I have played in them… like a lot growing up. I was the city boy from L.A., so I made sure fun was going to be had in those corn silos when I visited. Now, if you, no matter how big this you is… whether you are 60 pound girl, or a 250 pound male, if you jump into the corn from say, I don’t know 30 feet up (which I have done) you’ll bury yourself up to your hips, or maybe your armpits. But you will be SUPER hard pressed to get any deeper than that. Not with out active digging, and others burying you. That’s just how corn densities work. Trust me on this – corn is not like quick sand. Not even a little bit. I kept laughing and laughing at that scene. Just baffled. I honestly thought it was a joke at first. But anyway, I’m just going to skip right past this scene, because, #Fake.

Then, Lee finds the kids and they work together, and then the kids hid in a truck. But the monsters are on to them. They aren’t going to let bygones be. So Lee, grabs his axe and makes his final stand, screams, and gets run over by the monster. The kids then release the parking break and roll down to the house where their mother brings them into the house. Now, in the basement, Regan, and her mother have a final encounter with a monster that chased them into the house. And it was Regan who realized that the frequency of her hearing aid completely flips the monsters out. And so they are able to kill the monster. And the movie ends with Regan with hearing aid in hand, and Evelyn with shotgun in hand. More about that ending later.

The Rules and the Details of A Quiet Place

  1. The monsters are fully armored and unassailable
  2. The monsters hate noise of any sort
  3. Any and all noise will get the attention of the monsters and they will attempt to turn the noise off violently
  4. The monster’s hearing is highly tuned, but their hearing is always dialed into the loudest noise
  5. If you looked closely at the news clippings, it appears that the monsters were part of an alien global invasion
  6. The frequency of the hearing aid is the weakness of the monsters, and forces their inner ear to be exposed
  7. Once exposed, this unarmored ear is really unprotected and vulnerable. Which is why the shotgun was able to kill the monster.

Are there more? There is also a rumor going around the interwebs, that the red lights weren’t just a call for help, but that they also were a high pitched screaming frequency that hurt their ears as well and drew the monsters away from the house. Seems like a bit of a stretch to me. But heck, could be. We do see, in the first shot of the entire film, a stop light lying on the ground after all. Could it be that the stop light was attacked because of the red frequency that emitted extra noise that set the monsters off? Who knows.

The Weakness of the Monsters and the End Solution

A few people have asked me about Regan and her hearing aids, that apparently the details here were not exactly straight forward. Here’s what I understood to be happening. Somehow, someway, Regan’s hearing aid is broken. And so her father, like any father would, tries his best to repair, or create a new hearing aid in order to help his daughter. And by the frustration she shows with her father’s efforts, this obviously wasn’t the first time he had tried to solve it for her.

So apparently, the hearing aid that she wears with her every day is not operable. After testing, and failing, both previously and this time specifically, Regan just continues wearing the aid. But this new hearing aid does something unexpected. When Regan comes in close contact with the monsters, it sets off both her hearing aid as well as the monster’s hearing as well, with a high pitched scream. This is probably a result of a mean feedback loop between the two things – ie the alien’s ear as well as Regan’s hearing aid. And when magnified, it sends the monster into a state of chaos. All the armor across its face opens and the inner ear is inadvertently unlocked. And that is the thing that allows Evelyn to shoot the monster in the face. Which, we can assume, wasn’t possible prior. The armor most likely would have protected the animal from the shotgun shell.

The Final Shot of A Quiet Place Explained

After Evelyn shoots the monster in the face, and kills it, a couple of things happen quickly. The first is that Regan places her hearing aid against the microphone. And the second is that Evelyn cocks the shotgun. But what does that even mean? Well, it means that the Regan is planning to broadcast the screeching static. And two, it means that Evelyn is about to head out into the yard to begin killing the unprotected monsters as they thrash from the noise. The thing I don’t fully grasp is, were they using local speakers in the yard? The radio? How were they planning to transmit the sound to the monsters? But regardless, that was their plan, broadcast the noise, drop the monster’s defenses, and then kill the two other monsters that were known to be local to the house. Does that make sense?

Overall Thoughts on A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place is fantastic simply because it is a good idea. Consider this, The Bird Box book by Josh Malerman was another amazing idea. In Bird Box, anyone that sees the monster, immediately dies via insanity. That too is a good idea… but a stellar book idea doesn’t exactly make a stellar movie idea. People wandering around with blindfolds as monsters stand next to them? Really? How does one solve the riddle of this screenplay? Oh, and you know what? Eric Heisserer is the one that has written that screenplay, and if anyone can solve that riddle Eric can do it. (If you don’t know Mr. Heisserer, he is the writer that created the screenplay for Arrival from the nearly inscrutable book entitled, The Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang. Eric hooked me up with his screenplay well before the movie premiered and was happy enough to answer a few of my questions about the movie. He’s an amazing writer, and possibly the best in the business right now.) But my original point still remains. The idea is huge here. And from the idea comes tons of amazing interactions and unique conflict and chaos. So compelling.

The acting was stellar. The kids did a great job. There was absolutely nothing about this movie that I didn’t enjoy, SANS the silo experience. But, hey, I will cut the production team some slack. They had no idea that corn silos aren’t quick sand death traps. But the moment they got in one they had to work around this problem physically! They saw how stupid this idea was!! Hahaha. But that really is nothing. This was a marvelously enjoyable movie and just was so different, and intriguing. Kudos to Beck and Woods for their stunning and innovative screenplay that was less screenplay and more picture book! hahah.

What did you guys think of the movie. I know tons of you have seen it by now. Thoughts? Weaknesses? Drawbacks? Strengths that I missed?